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THIS SERIES OF INSTRUCTIONAL ARTICLES FOR MID-CLASS AND CLUB SHOOTERS IDENTIFIES THE MOST MISSED TARGETS, WHY AND HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORES.
THE MOST MISSED TARGETS
INSTRUCTION FROM ROGER HILL, A MEMBER OF THE UK-BASED INSTITUTE OF CLAY SHOOTING INSTRUCTORS AND OWNER OF PRO COACH SHOOTING SCHOOL, ESSEX, ENGLAND
For the mid-class shooter, the long crosser can be the most daunting of all targets because the lead picture is big and there is always a tendency to look at the gun to measure the lead. Making sure is fatal, causing the gun to slow down – or even worse, stop. To prevent this, you must learn your perception of lead – some see inches, some feet, while others measure in barrel or finger widths. One way to learn how you perceive lead is to put a clay on a post at 40 yards, then put another post 8ft to the left or right – this is the approximate theoretical lead a target needs at 40 yards. Then mount on the clay and move away to the 8ft marker post. This will achieve two things. It gives you your perception of what 8ft looks like at 40 yards and physically allows you to check that your eyerib alignment is correct (you should be able to see the clay and the 8ft marker post without lifting or moving your head). Another thing that must be taken into consideration is that the further away a target is, the slower it appears to move. Think of it like standing at the side of the highway with cars passing you at 70mph. With an outstretched arm, point and follow each car with your finger, noting how fast your arm is moving. Now move back from the edge of the highway by 20 yards, then 40 yards, and do the same exercise comparing how fast your arm is moving – it’s a lot slower although the traffic is moving at the same speed. The same applies to a clay target moving at the same speed at 10, 20 and 40 yards. All these factors have to be taken into consideration when tackling the long crosser – you must do your homework before you get in the stand. Find your happy zone to break the target, assess your reaction time and make up your mind which method of achieving lead you are going to use. Pull away always works well with long crossers and should be your first choice – or the fall back method if the wheels fall off when using one of the other methods. Maintained lead works well if you have a tendency to look at the end of the gun to measure the lead – as you have to be looking ahead of the target all the time to see the correct lead picture. Now you are on the stand, ready to call for your target. You know where you are going to break the target so ensure your stance is balanced at this point. You know your reaction time to seeing the target, and you know your hold point is in the right place along the flight line – so the target cannot beat you. As you pick up the target, move with it to ascertain it’s speed and direction. Spend a bit longer on this type of target to give your brain a little longer to work out its speed and direction. With long crossers I always teach my pupils to say to themselves, at normal conversation speed “LOOK AT IT, LOOK AT IT AND LEAD”. This
25 yards 35 yards LEARN TO JUDGE DISTANCE AND HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT OF LEAD.
25 yards 40 yards 10 yards
uk A BALANCED STANCE ALLOWS A FULL 90° ARC OF MOVEMENT. Your lead has to be instinctive.co. Shot falls 3 inches at 40 yards – with a 30 inch diameter of spread at the front of the shot string. Soft focus into the visual pick up point while holding your leading hand (that would normally hold the fore end of the gun) at about waist height ready to point directly at the target. So. Call for another target and in one smooth movement. a target moving onto your bad side (left to right) will always need more lead for a righthanded shooter. yet you both break the target. but your shooting partner may see feet. but this is what will take you from a mid-class shooter to a more advanced shot. Remember the clay on the post picture – and when it feels that the target will break. not measured. as checking is fatal and will always result in a miss behind. GUN HELD TO MUZZLE HOLD POINT. At 30 yards a 1/2 choke pattern is 30 inches in diameter at the front (slightly less at the back) and 10ft long. But. You will have to practice quite a lot on this type of target to get to know your own perception of lead and what method works best for you. if in doubt over lead. ENSURE YOUR BREAK POINT STANCE IS CORRECT. Shoot safe. The gun is also coming onto the face. FRONT (LEADING) FOOT POINTING TOWARDS BREAK POINT. To finish with. due to the lack of free movement left to right. a few facts you might like to consider that could influence you in your approach to crossing targets. shoot straight and keep those questions coming. call for a target and establish your visual pick up point (where you see the target clearly). here’s a great way to establish your reaction time. Without your gun. be bold – there is always the chance of catching the target in the shot string. So be wary of targets coming onto your bad side (left to right for a right-hander. I Roger Hill can be contacted at Roger@Procoach-Shotgun. Next month we start a two part article on the advantages of shooting gun down (Part 1) and how to acheive a perfect gun-mount (Part 2). Big long targets need long slow movement. don’t ask and then copy other shooters’ perception of lead. drop of shot will not be a factor. BREAK POINT 90 makes you spend that split second longer on the target – as opposed to the fast short target “ON IT AND OFF IT”. When a target is coming onto your good side. Now you know where your muzzle pick up point should be – ensuring the target never beats you. It is easier to control the gun when pulling than it is when pushing. if you are behind the target. You may see inches. as opposed to close fast targets that need short fast movements. Lead is very personal. 32 C L AYS H O OT I N G U S A . go with that feeling and pull the trigger. nothing can help you! Do not worry about the drop of shot. the lead hand is pulling the gun onto the target. 45° BEFORE AND AFTER THE BREAK POINT. right to left for a left-hander). point directly at it with an extended arm and freeze! The distance between the visual pick up point and where you are now directly pointing is your reaction time. learn your own. So. Do not check. Another factor that must be taken into account when shooting crossers is that it is easier for a right-handed shooter to shoot a right to left target as he has more natural movement right to left than left to right. This is because it is harder to push the gun and keep good control and there is a tendency for the gun to be pushed off the face.STARTRIGHTSTAYRIGHT VISUAL PICK UP POINT BREAK POINT MUZZLE HOLD POINT ‘REACTION TIME’ When you are next at your club or practicing.